Anthropology and Development - SE594

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2020 to 2021.


Primarily intended to offer a critical analysis of the concept of development, particularly as it is used to talk about economic and social change in the developing world, the module shows how anthropological knowledge and understanding can illuminate 'development issues' such as rural poverty, environmental degradation, international aid and humanitarian assistance, climate change and the globalization of trade. Topics discussed include the role of anthropology in development practice, by examining some of the methods being used to either study or participate in current development projects, whether at local, national or international levels of intervention.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

12 Lectures; 12 Seminars


Available 2013/14; Not Available 2014/15
This module contributes
BSc: Anthropology; BA: Social Anthropology; Joint Honours; with a Language; with a Year Abroad

Method of assessment

50% written examination (2 hr exam), 50% coursework

Indicative reading

Robert Chambers ‘Revolutions in Development Inquiry’ (2008)
David Mosse’s ‘Cultivating Development’ (2005);
James Ferguson’s ‘The Anti-politics Machine’ (1990);
James Scott’s ‘Seeing like a State’ (1998);
Allen and Thomas’ ‘Poverty and development into the 21st century’ (2000);
Gardner and Lewis’ ‘Anthropology, Development and the Post-modern Challenge’ (1996);
Mark Hobart’s ‘An Anthropological Critique of Development’ (1993);
Riall Nolan’s ‘Development Anthropology: Encounters in the Real World’ (2002)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Gain an appreciation of the global problems that development policies aim to address.
Understand the history of anthropological involvement in development.
Acquire ethnographic knowledge of how anthropology illuminates issues such as rural poverty, environmental degredation and the globalization of trade.
Acquire ethnographic knowledge of how indigenous people have responded to development programmes.
Gain an understanding of anthropological critiques of development theory and projects.
Gain practical experience in some of the methods used by anthropologists to study development projects.
Gain practical experience in interviewing and analyzing interviews.
Explore why development projects fail or succeed.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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